The Ultimate Guide to an Aruba Honeymoon

Updated for 2017  

Honeymooners looking for a Caribbean destination often focus on spots such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cancun/Riviera Maya or one of the “saints” (e.g. Maarten, Lucia).  Those islands all have characteristics desirable in a honeymoon location.  However, they’re all located in the “hurricane belt” and thus their appeal decreases during hurricane season, typically June-November.

Divi Divi Tree
A trip to Aruba is not complete unless you visit one of the famous Fofiti trees.  They are renowned for their “lean,” induced by the island’s trade winds.

There’s a trio of islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – that lie south of the hurricane belt and therefore have increased appeal with couples honeymooning during those months.

In this extensive post I’ll focus on Aruba, covering its suitability for honeymoons by diving into detail on the many characteristics that make it a great honeymoon destination, providing advice for getting there and staying inexpensively, and pointing out a couple of downsides to honeymooning on the island.

I’ll wrap it all up with a concise summary and The Honeymoon Guy’s trademark Honeymoon Suitability Rating (HSR).

Use these links to jump to different sections of the post:

Background
The 7 Major Upsides to Honeymooning on Aruba
How to Get There Without Breaking the Bank
Luxury Lodging Without Spending Much
The Two Minor Downsides to an Aruba Honeymoon
The Four-Sentence Summary and the HSR

Background

Aruba lies south of the hurricane belt, just north of Venezuela.
Aruba lies south of the hurricane belt, just north of Venezuela.  Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Before jumping right into the details, here are a few more high-level notes to set the stage.

I mentioned Aruba’s location south of the hurricane belt.  Specifically, it’s located about 15 miles north of Venezuela.  Despite its proximity to South America, Aruba is considered part of North America.  Aruba is one of four countries that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The island, 20 miles wide by 6 miles across, is very flat; the highest point is only about 600 ft above sea level.  It rarely rains and when it does it is usually for a short period of time at night.  A constant light breeze blows across the island, leading to the distinctive, leaning shape of the island’s famous Fofoti trees.  Aruba is relatively close to the equator so the sun is strong but the island breeze keeps it comfortable at most times.

The 7 Major Upsides to Honeymooning on Aruba

1. Beaches to Melt Your Wedding Stress Away

The white sand beaches of Aruba, combined with the warm, beautiful turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean sea, make the island quite the draw for sunbathers and swimmers, and newlyweds looking to decompress from the stresses of a wedding.

IMG_4022
The location of Palm and Eagle beaches, on the western side of Aruba, means great sunset viewing.

In particular, two Aruba beaches – Palm Beach and Eagle Beach – are world-renowned for their beauty.  Their location, on the western side of Aruba, makes them excellent for spectacular sunset viewing and evening walks.

Palm Beach, about two miles long, is known for its calm waters that are great for swimming and snorkeling.  It’s not surprising then that many of the larger hotels on the island, and restaurants, bars and shops are on the beach or close by.

Eagle Beach is just south of Palm Beach.  It is the widest beach on Aruba so you should have a nice amount of space to yourself when lounging on it.  The beach is known for soft, white sand, so much so, that it often makes Top-10-Beaches-in-the-World lists.  Like Palm Beach, the water lapping this beach is beautiful and clear also.  There are some concessions on Eagle Beach, and some picnic areas and huts, and plenty of parking.

Palm Beach, Aruba
Aruba beaches like Palm Beach, shown here, have soft white sand and gentle slopes into the clear, warm water.

Two of the most photographed fofoti trees in Aruba grow out of Eagle Beach.  They lean towards the water, the result of years of exposure to trade winds.  You’ll often see wedding parties having photos snapped by the trees.  If you visit Aruba, especially on your honeymoon, you have to get a picture in front of/by one of the fofoti trees.  Another Eagle Beach attraction is beach tennis, a local sport which is often played on the weekends on Eagle Beach.

The west coast isn’t the only part of Aruba with great beaches.  The southeastern tip of the island is home to Baby Beach, named for its shallow waters that are about five feet deep or less across a vast area.  It’s a snorkeler’s dream.  Though it’s a decent drive from Palm and Eagle Beach, and Oranjestad, it’s worth a visit.

Remember that Aruba is very close to the equator and that the consistent island breeze can mask the strong rays of the sun.  Cover up or use sunscreen as needed!

2. The Island is Outside the Hurricane Belt

Many well-known island destinations in the Caribbean are within the hurricane belt.  If a routine vacation to one of those islands is canceled due to a hurricane it might be disappointing and frustrating, but it probably won’t crush you.  If you have to cancel your honeymoon completely because of a hurricane though you’ll most likely be devastated.  With that in mind, Aruba gets major points as a honeymoon destination due to its location south of the hurricane belt.  For Americans that live on the East Coast it’s a great option as it is a reasonable flight away.  It is actually only about 40 minutes further by air than a destination like the Dominican Republic but your chances of having to deal with a hurricane are significantly lower.

3. Aruba is Safe

Though Aruba’s crime and safety reputation took a major hit with the disappearance of Natalie Holloway in 2005, it is generally regarded as a safe destination for tourists.  You can leave your hotel or resort without any more concern for safety than you might have within an American or European area.  Patty and I walked around quite a bit during our visit, often walking to and from restaurants for dinner.  If you tried, I’m sure you could find some parts of the island where you wouldn’t want to do so but we felt safe walking around the touristy areas.

4. It’s Convenient

The convenience factor is high for Aruba.  You can fly direct to the island from many US airports (see How to Get There).  A Visa is not required if you are a permanent resident of the US (or Canada, UK, Ireland, The Netherlands or any Schengen country).  When you arrive you don’t have to worry about exchanging cash.  Aruba’s official currency is the florin but US dollars are widely accepted in Aruba and major credit cards and ATM cards are commonly accepted as well.

You can also use your US and Canadian devices without adapters or converters as Aruba uses the same electricity standard and outlet type as in North America.

Tap water is drinkable for tourists with little concern.

5. It Offers Good Eats and Special Dinner Options

Restaurants on Aruba enjoy a solid reputation.  If you check review sites you’ll often see descriptors such as ‘amazing’ or ‘excellent.’  Although some hotels on the island have all-inclusive options which are often appealing to honeymooners, you may find that you want to leave the resort for meals.  We met people staying in the Riu (an all-inclusive resort) and they ended up joining us out for dinner even though they had paid for an all-inclusive plan.  They wanted to try food someplace other than their hotel.

Adding to the appeal of eating out is the fact that it’s generally safe to walk between your hotel and restaurants.

We had two of our favorite food experiences ever on Aruba.  The first took place at Gianni’s on J. E. Irausquin Blvd.  Their signature dish is spaghetti al formaggio parmigiano – a dish based on a cheese bowl and fire.  The waiter/waitress brings a cheese bowl that is roughly 18″ in diameter out to your table.  He/she pours a ladle full of whiskey into the cheese bowl and lights it on fire.  That of course melts the interior of the cheese bowl.  Once the flames die off the waiter/waitress tosses freshly cooked pasta in the bowl, coating it with molten cheese.  It is then dished out for you.  It’s fantastic (for the record it doesn’t taste of whiskey at all) and the whole process is a lot of fun to watch.

Just a five-minute drive south of Gianni’s you can find Passions on the Beach.  This Eagle Beach restaurant was made for honeymooners.  The tables are set directly on the beach, enabling you to watch the sun set over the Caribbean as you eat your dinner with your toes in the sand.  The food was good if I remember correctly but frankly it’s not the food that you will remember from this visit – it’s the experience.  With tiki torches providing light as the sun fades, waves rolling onto the shore and tables adorned with fancy white linen tablecloths, it’s a beautiful, serene scene.

passions-at-palm-beach-aruba-honeymoon-welcome-stand
The tables fill up fast once they start seating customers at Passions on the Beach but in this pre-dinner photo you can sense the serenity of the setting.  Passions on the Beach is located on Eagle Beach.
passions-at-palm-beach-aruba-honeymoon-diners
Sitting with your toes in the sand, eating dinner while watching the sun set over the Caribbean Sea is about as storybook as it gets on a honeymoon.  The staff knows the lapping waves and the sunset over the Caribbean is the main draw here so seats are arranged so that diners have a grand view of the sun fading into the horizon.

6. It’s a Quick Hop to South America, Bonaire and Curacao

If you have more than 5 or 6 days for your honeymoon you may want to consider making your honeymoon a multi-destination trip, and Aruba is just 15 miles from South America!  The continent of South America is huge of course so there is any sort of experience, climate, geography you’d like, available to you.  The nearest country is Venezuela but Colombia is also near Aruba.  If you and your fiance(e) are the adventurous type you may want to complement a beach-heavy stay on Aruba with a few days in one of those two countries.  Alternatively, you can hop a 35 minute flight to Curacao or a 45 minute flight to Bonaire.  Those two islands have a different vibe to them than Aruba, despite their proximity.  Like Aruba, they offer excellent scuba diving opportunities.

7. There is a Solid Selection of Activities on the Island

Aruba isn’t at the level of Hawaii when it comes to activities (not many places are) but it is great for several common honeymoon activities and has a few hidden treasures also.

There are Plenty of Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Options

It’s an island in the Caribbean Sea so as you’d imagine it offers up some solid, if not best-in-the-world scuba diving.  There is abundant exotic marine life, including stingrays, moray eels, barracudas and yellow tail.  With reefs a bit offshore, it’s best to take a boat to your dive destination.

Scuba Diving off Aruba Coast
After a quick intro in the pool, we headed out for some scuba diving above a reef just off the coast of Palm/Eagle beaches.

Those reefs stretch all along the west side of the island and around to Baby Beach reef on the southeastern corner. It’s actually a good island for beginning divers as the waters are mostly shallow.  You’re likely to catch glimpses of eagle rays, manta rays, grouper, parrot fish, angel fish and even lobsters.  There are also seagrass fields which the leatherback turtles call home during the mating season.  Other turtles – loggerhead, hawksbill, green – can be found loitering year-round.

There are also several wrecks you can dive or snorkel above.  Perhaps the most famous is the Antilla, a World War 2 German freighter that sits in about 70 foot deep waters off Malmok beach.  It’s a large ship so there are actually some parts of it which stick above water.

patty-on-dock-in-aruba
The Caribbean sea scene, in view from the docks of Aruba, is quite serene!

The Pedernales, is another popular shipwreck for diving. It is a flat-bottomed oil tanker which was hit in a submarine attack while transiting from Venezuela to Aruba.  A third option is a bit different – you can dive or snorkel above a DC-3 plane that was recently sunk near the Pedernales, in water only about 30 feet deep.

On our trip I did an intro dive above coral reef off the Palm/Eagle Beach coast.  Before heading out, we started in the pool to get familiar with the gear.  Then we boarded a small boat and headed out for the real thing.  It was an excellent experience.  Patty, not very interested in scuba diving, snorkeled above us.

When you’re not actually scuba diving or snorkeling it is quite relaxing and enjoyable to simply hang out on the docks and watch the boats bob on the sea.

Jeep Tours of the Island Are A Bit of An Adventure

Aruba’s terrain, away from the beach areas, is rough in many places, so off-road tours are very popular.  On our trip we hired ABC Tours and did their full-day island tour.   Our tour guide drove us and another couple all over the island.  We visited a famous lighthouse, the “yellow chapel” (Alto Vista Chapel), Gold Ruins, the Natural Bridge, the Natural Pool, the National Park and we stopped at Baby Beach to snorkel.  The off-road portions of the day were surprisingly rough but the tour was a really great way to see the island’s key features and sights.

Hopping in the Driver's Seat of Off-Road Jeep for a Photo Op
For our tour of the island we rode in the back of the jeep shown here (I just hopped in the driver’s seat for the photo). Our guide took us off-roading all over the island.
The scenic Alto Vista Chapel in Noord, Aruba is situated away from the developed areas of Aruba. A stop here was included on our full-day island jeep tour.
The scenic Alto Vista Chapel in Noord, Aruba is situated away from the developed areas of Aruba. A stop here was included on our full-day island jeep tour.

The Natural Pool is a Special Site

The highlight of our island tour was probably the visit to the Natural Pool, also known as “conchi.”  This water feature, created when water from the sea comes over the rocks and fills a natural depression, is very serene.  It is difficult to get to and that makes it all the more special when you do arrive.  When I write that it is difficult to get to, I mean that.  Our driver was taking the custom Jeep over very large rocks that some might even call small boulders, on the way to the Natural Pool.  It was worth it though as it was a really cool site and a memorable experience.

Natural Pool in Aruba
On our off-road tour we visited the Natural Pool, filled with sea water from waves crashing over the edge at high tide.  The stop at the Natural Pool was the highlight of a great tour.

The Ostrich Farm Is Unique and Memorable

I wrote that Aruba has some hidden treasures.  When you read that you probably weren’t thinking of an ostrich farm, right?  Well this activity might not be for everyone but if you go you’ll remember this activity vividly.

Ostrich Feeding Time at the Aruba Ostrich Farm
A visit to the Aruba Ostrich Farm is an outside-the-box activity option. During our visit we fed the ostriches and sat on them. They may look to have skinny, fragile necks but they’re very strong as I found out during feeding time.

The ostrich farm is on the road to the Natural Bridge so combining a visit to the two is a great option.  The farm has 80+ ostriches and a smaller number of emus.  You can take a guided tour of the farm and learn about the behavior and tendencies of the largest bird species on earth (the ostriches).

The real memory-maker here though is the sitting on and feeding of the ostriches.  Yes, you can sit on an ostrich!  Or at least you could when Patty and I visited.  It was also weird yet fun to turn your back to a group of ostriches and have them eat food out of a bowl in your hands.  You get an appreciation for the strength of these birds as they push you around a bit to get their fill.

The farm also has an Africa Art Shop (ostriches are native to Africa) and a bar/restaurant.  You can try ostrich meat though you may not want to eat ostrich meat right after you were interacting with the birds.

Animal Watching Includes Sea Turtle Hatchlings, Birds and Iguanas

Sea turtles create many nests on Aruba beaches, particularly Eagle Beach, and when they do the authorities in the area mark them to protect them.  The nesting occurs over a few summer months each year, with the baby turtles actually hatching around sunset and at night.  The hatchlings exit the nest and saunter towards the ocean where they immediately swim out into the open waters where there are less predators.  Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbill turtles all nest on Aruba. Watching this marvel of nature is a great activity for an hour or two post-dinner.





Aruba is home to an impressive number of species of birds and some hotels have some talking parrots which you can interact with.  They are beautiful birds!

Patty made a friend on our trip to Aruba.
Many of the hotels on Aruba have colorful, talking birds which interact with guests.  Patty and this feathered friend got along great on our trip to Aruba.

In addition to the aforementioned sea turtles and feathery friends, you will without a doubt see iguanas if you visit Aruba.  At times they seem to be everywhere!  They are harmless and in some cases actually friendly.  Of course most of them have become accustomed to humans and don’t see humans as a threat.  They enjoy eating lettuce so you may sometimes see a guest feeding them some of the leafy green.

Iguanas are plentiful on Aruba. They're generally used to humans and harmless and in many cases quite photogenic.
Iguanas are plentiful on Aruba. They’re generally used to humans and harmless, and in many cases quite photogenic.

If You’re A Party Animal, There’s A Party Bus For You

While much of Aruba is calm and relaxing there is an option for those that want to let loose and party it up in a cheesy, you-might-not-do-this-at-home way: the Kukoo Kunuku bus.  The company runs a Dinner & Nightlife Tour and the shorter Pub Krawl tour also.  If you approach this activity with a fun-seeking attitude you won’t be disappointed but it’s certainly not for tame, introverted types.

Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus
If you have a “you only live once” mindset you just might want to try the Kukuoo Kunuku party bus.

On the Dinner & Nightlife Tour the bus driver will pick you and other participants up from hotels in the early evening.  Throughout the drive there will be music playing, singing and chanting, and of course it gets rowdier when the sun goes down.  You’ll get dinner and a drink under the Stars at Casibari Grill, a champagne toast and three bar stops at which the 1st drink is included.  It’s quite a crazy scene and a fun escape from the seriousness of normal life and the serenity of the rest of the island.

How to Get There Without Breaking the Bank

All Aruba air traffic arrives and departs from the Reina Beatrix International Airport (IATA: AUA) (ICAO: TNCA) on the western side of the island.  As of writing, direct flights were available from/to many US cities:

  • Atlanta – Southwest Airlines and Delta
  • Baltimore, Orlando – Southwest Airlines
  • Boston – US Airways and JetBlue Airways
  • Chicago, Houston, Washington/Dulles, Newark – United Airlines
  • Fort Lauderdale – Spirit Airlines
  • Houston – United and Southwest
  • Miami – American Airlines, Surinam Airways and InselAir
  • Philadelphia, Charlotte – US Airways
  • New York – Delta and JetBlue Airways
  • Toronto – Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing Airlines

Visitors from outside the US should check into flights from Copa Airlines and InselAir.

The hotel region is about a 25 minute ride from the airport and that will cost you roughly $30 in a taxi.  Arriving in Aruba isn’t complicated but if you’d like more info you can check out this YouTube video.

There is an office of the American Department of Homeland Security at the airport for those leaving Aruba for the United States.  Though this might seem like an advantage it may be a net negative because it forces you to get to the airport significantly earlier to ensure that you don’t miss your flight.  The upside is that flights from Aruba land at domestic gates in the US and getting back home after the flight is of course faster without having to go through customs.

The two best ways to fly to/from Aruba without spending much cash are through Southwest Airlines, using Rapid Rewards points, and on American Airlines using British Airways Avios.

Southwest Airlines Offers Some Great Options for Getting To/From Aruba

One of the major impacts of Southwest acquiring AirTran was that it changed Southwest from a domestic carrier into an international carrier with flights to/from Aruba and some other Caribbean locations.

Nonstop flights from Orlando to Aruba are available at great rates on Southwest.
Nonstop flights from Orlando to Aruba are available at great rates on Southwest.

Southwest’s rewards program is relatively simple.  If a flight has open seats you can redeem points for it.  The number of points required is loosely tied to the fare type and the actual cost of the fare.  The fact that reward seats are not capacity-controlled is a huge plus for couples traveling together.  There are often times on other airlines that there is only one award seat available, particularly in a premium cabin, preventing redemption for honeymooners who of course want to sit together in the same cabin.

One location with direct flights to/from Aruba is Orlando, FL.  A quick illustrative search for a trip Oct 12th-20th, right in the heart of hurricane season for the rest of the Caribbean, shows that a roundtrip itinerary can be had for only 27k points and $71 in government taxes and fees.  With a single Southwest credit card offering a signup bonus of 50k points, you could get both you and your fiancee to Aruba and back with the signup bonus and a bit of spending on the card.  The card does have an annual fee of $69 that is not waived the first year.  Factoring that in and adding in the taxes and fees for both persons, you’d be looking at a total cost for roundtrip airfare, for two people, of just $240 all-in.  Of course Southwest doesn’t charge for the first two checked bags per person so that price even includes the transport of a nice large suitcase for each of you in which you can pack souvenirs to bring back as memoirs.

Using British Airways Avios to Fly American Airlines is a High-Value Option

Another inexpensive approach for booking flights to/from Aruba is using British Airways Avios points to book on American Airlines.  British Airways’ reward program is distance based so there are quite a few good values to be found.  For illustrative purposes I searched for award flights using the same days in the previous example and found award availability on nonstop flights from/to Miami, in business class.  It’s a short flight between Miami and Aruba at just under 3 hours but for a honeymoon it would be nice to ride in the front of the plane.  This notional itinerary would cost 60k British Airways Avios and the same $141 in fees as calculated above, to cover both persons.  Signing up for a single British Airways credit card will yield you 50k Avios so if both you and your fiancee acquire the card you will cover the roundtrip flights in business class and have 40k Avios left over!  The annual fee for the card is waived the first year so for your two roundtrip flights in business class you’ll be out only the $141 in taxes and fees!

Flights from Florida to the Caribbean are a good deal through British Airways' rewards program. This illustrative example shows that two roundtrip flights between Miami and Aruba can be booked for 60k Avios and $141 in taxes and fees, total.
Flights from Florida to the Caribbean are a good deal through British Airways’ rewards program. This illustrative example shows that two roundtrip flights between Miami and Aruba can be booked for 60k Avios and $141 in taxes and fees, total.

Luxury Lodging Without Spending Much

Aruba offers a variety of lodging options, including hotels, condos, all-inclusive resorts and private villas.  Marriott has a major presence on the island with five different hotels including a Ritz-Carlton.  Hyatt, Club Carlson and IHG each have a property on the island.  Recently, Hilton acquired the Radisson Aruba Resort and Casino.

You can stay on Aruba inexpensively through the use of free night awards and hotel points.  On our visit to Aruba we stayed at the Westin for five nights for a total of 40,000 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints.  The room was 10,000 points per night so we used 40,000 points for four nights and got the fifth night free with Starwood’s standard offering.  However, the Westin was recently purchased by the parent company of the Riu Palace and was combined with that property.  It is now operating as the Riu Palace Antilla, an adults-only all-inclusive resort.

Westin Aruba to Become Rui Antilla
During our Aruba visit we stayed at the Westin Aruba on Palm Beach. It has recently been purchased and renovated and is now operating as the Riu Palace Antilla.

Following are some details on specific properties you may want to consider for a honeymoon on Aruba.  If you have thoughts on any of these properties, please share them in the comments section!

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino

This hotel – formerly a Radisson property – is nicely located on a stretch of Palm Beach that spans over 1,500 feet.  As of December 2016 the major renovation of the property is nearly completed (according to hotel management).





The pools are nice at this property – there are two zero-entry swimming pools and whirlpools.  The Hilton also boasts a spa featuring a state-of-the-art fitness center and a full-service salon.  Other features include a five-star PADI dive facility and sunset sailing.  The onsite casino is 16,000 square feet in area.  From June to September the hotel caters to families with a popular Discover Your Family Time program, which offers a full array of complimentary activities.

Hilton HHonors American Express Card Image
For an inexpensive stay at the Hilton in Aruba, consider leveraging the signup bonus for the Hilton HHonors American Express.

To stay here inexpensively, both you and your fiance could sign up for a Hilton HHonors American Express card.  The points rate is currently 60,000 points a night but I do see some Points and Money availability as of writing for 24,000 HHonors points plus $100 (per night).  If you and your fiancee each get the card and earn the signup bonus (75k HHonors points as of writing) you’d have over 150,000 HHonors points.  If there is Points and Money availability for your dates you could potentially stay six nights for only $600 out of pocket.

Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino

The Hyatt Regency Aruba is also located on Palm Beach.  The hotel has 357 guestrooms, including 24 suites / parlors, and 29 Regency Club® rooms.  The hotel has recently undergone renovations and offers guests a private beachfront setting and a host of upscale amenities. The hotel offers a blend of “casual Caribbean elegance with a sleek, modern sensibility.”  This hotel is generally held in a bit higher regard than the Radisson.

Chase Hyatt Stock Image
With a customary signup bonus of 2 free nights, the Chase Hyatt Visa is a great card for honeymooners.

The best way to stay at the Hyatt inexpensively is to redeem free night awards that are offered as the signup bonus for the Chase Hyatt Visa credit card.  The card consistently carries a signup bonus offer of 2 free nights at Hyatts worldwide after completion of the required spending (usually $2,000 within 3 months of card approval).  If both you and your fiance(e) sign up for the card and fulfill the signup bonus offer you can get 4 free nights at the hotel.  The Hyatt is a category 6 hotel so you could redeem 25,000 points per night, either for your whole stay or as a supplement to nights booked using the free night awards.

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino

This hotel, located on Palm Beach, was recently renovated.  It offers three pools, four restaurants, three bars, free wifi, a couples all-inclusive option.  In contrast to so many other hotels these days, the Holiday Inn on Aruba doesn’t impose any resort fees.

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
The IHG Rewards Club Select credit card offers a strong signup bonus – usually 60,000 to 80,000 points.

This resort requires 30,000 Rewards Club points for a free night (going up to 35,000 points/night effective 15 January 2017).  The signup bonus for the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card often varies from 60,000 to 80,000 points and the annual fee is usually waived for the first year.  The spending requirement to earn that signup bonus is usually a very reasonable $1,000 in 3 months after approval.  By signing up for this one credit card you’ll likely rake in enough points for two free nights at this hotel.  Your fiance(e) can do the same and then combined you can get four free nights at this Palm Beach, Aruba hotel for zero dollars out of pocket!

Marriott Properties

Marriott is the king of Aruba hotels, at least in terms of quantity.  They have five properties on the island ranging all the way up to the fancy Ritz-Carlton.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card has a 50,000 point signup bonus as of writing.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card has a 50,000 point signup bonus as of writing.

The best way to stay inexpensively to stay at Marriott hotels is through the accumulation of Marriott Rewards points.  They can of course be earned through paid stays at Marriotts and also through the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.  As of writing, the card comes up with a 80,000 point sign-up bonus offer after $3,000 spent within three months.  Cardholders also get a free night certificate valid at Category 1-5 properties upon renewal of the card. The $85 annual fee is offset in future years by the annual free night certificate granted each account anniversary.

Marriott’s rewards program does include a “5th Redemption Night Free” feature and that’s one you should definitely try to maximize if you’re going to stay at a Marriott on your honeymoon.

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

This Marriott, located on Palm Beach, is billed as a luxury resort with an adults-only pool and the Tradewinds Club.  Marriott refers to this top floor setup as an upscale hotel-within-a-hotel concept.  They also claim the guest rooms at here are the most spacious on the island.

This property is a category 9 hotel, so stays can be booked for 45,000 (or 40,000 with point saver) points per night.

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

This Marriott resort has a 40-acre island with a private beach.  The only downside is the island is very close to the airport which, to me, takes away a bit from the allure of it.

This is a category 8 hotel, so 40,000 (or 35,000 with point saver) points will get you a free night.

Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club

The Ocean Club boasts luxurious guestrooms and one- and two-bedroom villas along with entertainment and adventure for all ages.  This property is adjacent to the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and the Marriott Aruba Surf Club.  The villas offer fully equipped kitchens, separate living and dining areas, televisions with DVD players, and private balconies. They can comfortably accommodate up to eight guests.  The Ocean Club is a mixture of adult groups and families.

This property is a category 9 hotel, so stays can be booked for 45,000 (or 40,000 with point saver) points per night.

Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club

The Aruba Surf Club is a larger resort that seems to cater more towards families with children than the Ocean Club.  LIke the Ocean Club it has villas with separate bedrooms, living rooms and kitchen.  Per the norm for a property of this size it has on-site restaurants, in case you’d like a break from preparing meals in your own villa.  The hotel also offers kid’s activities and an outdoor pool with lazy river.

This property is a category 9 hotel, so stays can be booked for 45,000 (or 40,000 with point saver) points per night.

The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba

The Ritz-Carlton Aruba opened on Palm Beach in late 2013.  Marriott touts that each guest room and suite at the Ritz features a private balcony.  Other perks of staying at this luxury beach hotel include a complimentary local welcome drink at check-in and use of non-motorized water sports equipment, including kayaks, standing paddle boards and floating rafts.  The hotel features a 24-hour casino.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card carries a hefty annual fee but has a free night signup bonus and travel credits.

Some recent reviews indicate that this property may not be living up to the reputation of the Ritz-Carlton brand.

Staying at the Ritz-Carlton isn’t going to be cheap in general but you can cut the cost somewhat by signing up for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.  The signup bonus, as of writing, includes three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 hotel in the chain.  The Aruba Ritz is a Tier 4 property so it qualifies for this promotion.  The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee but that is offset by three credits – a $100 hotel credit on paid stays of 2 nights or longer, a $300 annual travel credit and a $100 companion airfare discount.  As a Tier 4 property, additional nights here will cost you 60,000 points each.

The Two Minor Downsides to an Aruba Honeymoon

  1. Aruba is relatively small and that combined with the fact that it’s an island means it may not be the best spot for a long honeymoon.  If you’re planning a honeymoon longer than 5 days and you’re intent on visiting Aruba I’d suggest combining your trip there with a visit to Curacao, Bonaire or South America.
  2. The customs setup leaving Aruba, which sounds appealing at first, has led to many complaints of long lines.

 

The Four-Sentence Summary and the HSR

Aruba has some major upsides and only a couple minor downsides as a honeymoon destination.  For couples looking for a beach-heavy honeymoon, Aruba should be considered.  If the honeymoon would take place during hurricane season, Aruba shoots to the top of the list of Caribbean islands to be considered.  On the other hand the island is relatively small and that means it can’t quite compare with some other destinations in terms of variety.  The Honeymoon Guy gives Aruba a Honeymoon Suitability Rating (HSR) of 14 out of 17.


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Do you have thoughts on Aruba as a honeymoon destination?  Did I miss something?  Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments section.  Thank you for reading!

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to an Aruba Honeymoon

  1. Hi there! Thinking of going to Aruba for our honeymoon, and thinking to extend to South America.. Any suggestions on what do there!?

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